Independent practice gives you control over the amount of time you spend with patients and the clinical treatments you provide, but how do you maintain control of all your information and use it to advance your practice?
This is where The Private Practice Register comes into its own, explains Fiona Booth.
Do you know where to find all the different documents you need to apply for private medical insurer recognition or renew your hospital practising privileges?
What about the appraisal information necessary to revalidate and maintain your licence to practise? Or evidence of your expertise such as published articles, qualifications and clinical interests that will help attract new referrals?
Locating that one, all-important certificate in time can become a bit of a scramble, while a change of address or bank might entail hours of calls and emails to ensure that these details are updated on all the relevant systems.
The Private Practice Register (The PPR) is Healthcode’s smart solution to this challenge. An efficient and secure way to collate information and share it when appropriate so that organisations have the correct details about your practice and you can continue to focus on patients.
The anatomy of the PPR
Put simply, The PPR is a secure online platform where you can control your practice information and documents in one place, ensuring they are up to date and accurate.
More than 24,000 practitioners now have a unique PPR profile, at zero cost, which provides a detailed picture of their clinical practice.
Each PPR profile has 11 sections which can hold a wealth of information. These are:
1. Main profile page: Your details and contact information – for example, practice name, correspondence and billing address –registration with one of the statutory health regulators, GMC number (if applicable) and membership of professional bodies.
There is also an option to upload a photo and provide a short biography.
2. NHS Practice: The name and address of the NHS trust where you work, job title, start date, end date, uploaded NHS reference and NHS referee details.
3. Private practice: The facilities where you have practising privileges with start and end dates, the type of care provided, patient demographic and practice hours.
4. Scope of practice : The procedures that you are trained and competent to perform and permitted to undertake under your licence to practise. This section is currently being added to the PPR on a controlled basis for GMC-registered practitioners (see ‘what next’ overleaf).
5. Fitness to practise: Your licence to practise, certifications, appraisal information, Disclosure and Barring Service certificate and Information Commissioner’s Officer registration.
Healthcode’s GMC republishing licence automatically updates The PPR with information from the List of Registered Medical Practitioners (LRMP), including revalidation status, designated body, Responsible Officer and annual retention fee due date.
6. Specialties and qualifications: Details of your primary medical qualification, specialty, sub-specialty and procedures undertaken by CCSD code and description.
7. Medical secretary: Name and contact details of your medical secretary/practice manager and their office hours.
8. Publications: Details of published papers where you are listed as author or co-author, including the option to include a link or upload.
9. Banking: Payment information for insurers.
10. Indemnity: Your medical indemnity provider and documentation.
11. Insurer recognition: Overview of your recognition by private medical insurers (PMIs).
The ability to store all this information securely in one place is convenient, but the real appeal of The PPR lies in the fact that it is a platform which connects all stakeholders in the independent healthcare sector: practitioners, PMIs and more than 300 private hospitals. This paves the way for more effective working practices and communication across the sector. For example:
Private medical insurers – If you have a PPR profile, you can use the platform as a one-stop shop to apply for recognition from the major insurers.
Those new to private practice can save a huge amount of time and avoid duplication by completing The PPR registration form and selecting the PMIs to whom they want to apply. These insurers then have access to all the data necessary to complete the recognition stage.
Nor will you need to inform all your insurer contacts when your details change because they automatically receive update notifications via the PPR, while you will also be notified if your recognition status changes.
Hospitals – Private hospitals that subscribe to the standard PPR service can view the PPR profiles of their consultant population and are automatically notified of updates, saving you the trouble of informing each hospital individually.
You are notified if a hospital wants to amend information about your practice which it believes to be inaccurate, such as practice hours or the date you started seeing patients at the hospital.
A secure network – You can use the PPR platform to access Healthcode’s Secure Messaging service in order to send encrypted messages to key contacts within hospitals and insurers.
Stay in control
You have control over your PPR profile and are responsible for keeping the information up to date.
Access is restricted to organisations that you have authorised within your network for specific purposes. Insurers have read-only access to the data necessary to recognise a practitioner or to validate bills.
Meanwhile, hospitals with a standard subscription have access to the profile with limited authority to correct inaccuracies concerning their own organisation, such as the practitioner’s start date.
When this happens, you are automatically notified so you can either confirm the update or contact the hospital to query the change.
To protect your privacy, The PPR is fully encrypted and data is stored within a private dedicated infrastructure physically located in the UK.
A back-up copy of the data is taken daily and securely stored in a separate UK hosted disaster recovery facility. Access to your account is controlled by log-in ID and password.
While it has already become the definitive source of information about independent practitioners, The PPR is continually having its features and capabilities expanded by Healthcode to enhance operational efficiency, information governance and quality assurance within the sector.
We have just launched a new-look fitness-to-practise section where you can upload and store all your appraisal information in one place:
Details of your current appraiser;
The appraisal period;
Personal development plan and your full appraisal.
And we are now in the process of aligning The PPR with the principles of the Medical Practitioner’s Assurance Framework (MPAF).
Already adopted by private hospitals and considered evidence of good governance by the Care Quality Commission, MPAF requires hospitals to collate and consider practitioners’ whole scope of practice when awarding or renewing practising privileges.
Whole scope of practice as defined by the GMC means all aspects of your private and NHS practice, not just the procedures carried out at that specific hospital.
This represents a huge undertaking for hospitals and for consultants whose practice will be subject to greater scrutiny, but the new scope of practice section on The PPR is a significant step in the right direction and being rolled out by specialty.
It will initially show CCSD-coded procedures performed by a consultant at private hospital and clinic sites, the number of times they were carried out at each site over a 12-month rolling period, and the last time the procedure was recorded.
This data can be automatically captured from validated hospital bills submitted through Healthcode’s Clearing Service where the consultant is identified as the controlling specialist. It will only be visible to the consultant and subscribing hospitals where they hold practising privileges.
The next phase will be to complete the scope of practice section to match the rest of the data requirements set out in MPAF, including the necessary information about practitioners’ NHS practice.
Consulting with stakeholders
Developmental work for this is already underway and Healthcode is consulting across the sector to ensure we get it right for all stakeholders.
For example, representatives from the BMA Private Practice Committee, the Independent Doctors Federation and the London Consultants Association have joined our PPR Data Standards Group, which is considering what data should be included in each PPR profile and in what format.
Ultimately, we expect that consultants will be able to apply for practising privileges through The PPR and for this process to fully comply with MPAF principles.
Since Healthcode launched The PPR five years ago, it has evolved into a dynamic online platform that connects you with private medical insurers and hospitals and supports your practice by enabling many tasks to be managed more efficiently.
Most importantly, it helps you manage your practice information at a time when the independent healthcare sector is becoming increasingly reliant on accurate, secure and shareable data.
Fiona Booth (right) is head of external affairs and stakeholder engagement, Healthcode